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Efforts to Prevent Hospital-Based Infection Falling Short, Survey Finds
Date:3/14/2013

THURSDAY, March 14 (HealthDay News) -- Increased efforts to halt the spread of an intestinal superbug aren't having a major impact, according to a national survey of infection prevention specialists in the United States.

Hospitals and other health care facilities need to do even more to reduce rates of Clostridium difficile infection, including hiring more infection prevention staff and improving monitoring of cleaning efforts, according to the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Each year, about 14,000 Americans die from C. difficile infection. Deaths related to C. difficile infection rose 400 percent between 2000 and 2007, partly due to the appearance of a stronger strain, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition, the infections add at least $1 billion a year to U.S. health care costs.

In January, APIC surveyed 1,100 members and found that 70 percent said their health care facilities had adopted additional measures to prevent C. difficile infections since March 2010.

However, only 42 percent of respondents said C. difficile infection rates at their facilities had declined, while 43 percent said there was no decrease, according to the findings presented Monday at an APIC conference on C. difficile, held in Baltimore.

Despite the fact that C. difficile infection rates have reached all-time highs in recent years, only 21 percent of health care facilities have added more infection prevention staff to tackle the problem, the survey found.

"We are encouraged that many institutions have adopted stronger measures to prevent [C. difficile infection], but as our survey indicates, more needs to be done to reduce the spread of this infection," Jennie Mayfield, APIC president-elect and a clinical epidemiologist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, said in an association news release. "
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